The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century 2009 by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill is due out this week, and the U.K. newspaper The Independent zeroes in on what everyone will be talking about: The Antichrist has arrived, and he sounds an awful lot like Harry Potter:
Though the words “Harry Potter” are never mentioned, the allusions are unmistakable. One section features a magical train hidden between platforms at King’s Cross station which leads to a magical school. The Antichrist character has a hidden scar and a mentor named Riddle. (Lord Voldemort, born Tom Riddle, is Harry Potter’s arch enemy in the Potter series.) Characters resembling both Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger also appear and, at one point, the Potter character kills someone with a lightning bolt from his flaccid penis.
So is Moore lining himself up with the religious fanatics who were burning the Harry Potter books in parking lots a few years ago? Of course not. Reviewer Laura Sneddon, who has actually read the book, says Moore is using the boy wizard to critique modern popular culture:
The headlines almost write themselves – “Alan Moore says Harry Potter is the Antichrist!” – yet they miss the point. When the Antichrist is met, overgrown and high on anti-psychotics, raging at the education system that let him down and sounding peculiarly like Harry Enfield’s teenage Kevin, he is surely no stand-in for one particular character but of the current obsession for replacing stories with money-generating franchises. Today, film rights are bought before publication, comics are written as storyboards, and teenage celebrities are given memoirs.
Plus a little bit of controversy can’t hurt sales, can it?